Tag Archives: Kingston Municipal Election

Housing Again ?!?!

Jason here.

What is affordable housing? The ‘mouth’ (Councillor Neill) thinks it is not 80 % of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) Average Market rent which would make an ‘ affordable’ unit in the range of $800. Councillor Neill felt this was more than an average tenant could pay. This discussion surrounded the decision on the Wright Crescent development which is an innovative project for Kingston that still will need planning approval. It is a joint project of CJM development and Town Homes Kingston. The mayor was most vehement in supporting the project as he indicated that the requirement of 25% affordable housing as found in the Official Plan, (page 57) was simply addressing the need for a wide variety of housing and costs in the community. I guess Neill and the mayor will never get along.

Housing is more important than ever as the city strives to deal with homelessness and the great  length of its list of people seeking low cost housing. Kingston has, as the report indicates, higher rents and a vacancy rate characteristic of larger urban centres. The 10 year plan to end homelessness in Kingston has done much to reconfigure the approach to affordable housing. Kingston now has an Affordable Housing and Land Acquisition program. The Wright Crescent project is its first iteration. The program is intended to pick up land which otherwise would not be available by subsidizing purchase – In theory this program could wipe out the cost differential for affordable housing in the south side of Princess vs north side. More widely diversified housing is to everyone’s benefit.

The CAO recommended contracts for the delivery of support programs a necessary component of a successful housing strategy. We haven’t heard the last of this. Under the 10 year plan some shelters will have to close as demand moderates. In the meantime the Service Provider will make sure Housing First is front and centre.

On the wider housing front – the Davis Tannery site and the proposed development on Frontenac St. were defeated. Both were Patry developments. One wonders if Patry is trusted by Councillor’s.

This was the first Council meeting after the Mayor’s announcement that he would not run again. He is seeking the federal Liberal nomination. Candidates for mayor (Hector, Downes and Paterson) were on display. Hector was quiet, Downes and Paterson were not.

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Kingston City Council Meeting Commentary – April 1, 2014 #ygk #ygkc

Jason’s Commentary on the April 1st Kingston City Council meeting

Jason here. Just when you expect to hear something – it doesn’t happen. NOTHING, was said about the $35,000,000 the province will provide for a new secondary school. Jason expected to have Council reiterate, or not, that the Memorial Centre was NOT available. Nothing of the sort occurred. Perhaps it is too soon, after MPP Gerretsen’s announcement. Perhaps we can expect it at the next meeting. It has been said before, but the talker (Councillor Neill) certainly would not let that deter him.

What we did hear was a lot about the potential neurological effects of cell phone towers. Cell phone towers are a federal responsibility and it is hard to imagine a situation in which the municipality would have no input. But this is the case here. The Council chambers were full of, I assume, Calvin park residents who thought that the tower was too close to schools. And they are correct. The question was put to staff, to survey other municipalities, to see what, if anything could be done. An interesting aspect this question was the assertion that Guelph and Oakville had put a moratorium on such towers. The mayor explained that this was not the case (he must have checked). Those cities might want to place a moratorium, but they have no power to do so. This is an issue that will not go away. The city has to, and will, produce a cell tower policy. It, of course, will satisfy no one.

On the technological front, Council agreed with a staff recommendation to allow Dominion Voting Systems to provide, for the 2014 municipal election, with the possibility of using the same system in 2018 (telephone and internet voting) for the advance poll. This is an interesting move – and a small one – into on-line voting – voting should lend itself to the internet, but a risk free system has not yet been devised. Councillor Schell asked if there will be a phone number for those having trouble with the system. Yes, there will, and I bet it will be used a lot! Jason promises to test it.

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Kingston Memorial Centre park and fairground